Michael Jackson delivered a posthumous thriller as fans gathered to worldwide premieres of a documentary film owed as the final concert performance of the King of Pop.
Four months after Jackson’s death, red carpets were rolled out for 18 simultaneous screenings on five continents for “This Is It,” culled from more than 100 hours of recording taken from rehearsals for the pop icon’s comeback.
Gesturing to the strong winds rock the event, Jackson’s former manager Frank DiLeo joked:
“He’s happy. You can feel him whirling around in the air here … He’s looking down right now laughing his rear end off.”
Travis Payne, choreographer for the show, added:
“It’s time to celebrate Michael, to express joy in his wonderful message of peace and love. People will enjoy seeing the Michael Jackson I always got to see.”
The Hollywood screening reflected events being held in Europe, Africa, Asia and South America before the movie makes its formal release in 99 countries on Wednesday for a limited two-week release.
In Beijing, a troupe of Jackson impersonators snatched their crotches and moon walked for hundreds of screaming fans as the movie premiered in China.
Fans were wearing single white gloves and clutching posters of the late pop star screamed as the look-alikes danced in unison to hits like “Thriller” and “Beat It” outside the central Beijing cinema where the film was screened at midnight.
Early reviews of the movie were optimistic.
The USA Today newspaper said
“Though the film did not restore Jackson to his past glory it did offer glimpses of his bygone greatness.”
“The songs remind us that early this summer, the world lost a genuine, if genuinely troubled, star,” the paper opined.